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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
Ballot and voting information for Alameda County.
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Director, Ward 2Alameda-Contra Costa Transit DistrictNovember 8, 2016California General Election

Special District
November 8, 2016California General Election

Alameda-Contra Costa Transit DistrictDirector, Ward 2

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Election Results

  • 100% of precincts reporting (212/212).

About this office

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Who’s Running?

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Ac Transit District Director, Ward 2
63,909 votes (58.45%)Winning
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  • Increase the service to San Francisco to relieve BART overcrowding
  • Have AC study the service benefits of being able to hire part time drivers
  • Have AC work with the Gillig bus company of Hayward to determine which driving-assisting technologies now available for cars can be utilized on future bus purchases.
Profession:Business and Land Use Attorney
Partner, Harper & Armstrong, LLP (2016current)
Principal, Harper & Associates (1985current)
Director for Ward 2, AC Transit — Elected position (2000current)
Director, Transbay Joint Powers Agency — Appointed position (2001current)
Commssioner, Alameda County Transportation Commission — Appointed position (20102014)
Councilmemer, City of Emeryville — Elected position (19871999)
Board Member, Bay Area Air Quality Management District — Appointed position (19911999)
General Counsul, Softyme, Inc. (19821985)
Managing Partner, Community Camera Repair (19751979)
Cost Engineer, Bechtel Construction (19731975)
Hastings College of the Law Juris Doctor (J.D.), Business and Constitutional Law (1982)
University of Illinois Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Economics, Math, Statistics (1972)
University of Illinoid Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (1972)
Board Member, General Counsel and Chief Financial Officer, Leonardo, the international society of arts, science and technolgy (2008current)
  • East Bay Young Democrats
  • alameda county democratic party
  • Transport Oakland
  • Metropolitan Greater Oakland Democratic Club

Driver Assisting Technology Needs to Be Investigated

Summary

continuing blog giving issues and positions

THE ELEPHANT IN AC’S BOARD ROOM

 

It is just a baby now, impatiently swaying in a back corner. No one at AC dares mention it; which is in keeping with other public bus transit agencies for it has a sibling in the board chambers of each of them. This scary calf needs no identification badge, but if it wore one it would read simply “autonomously driven”.

For transit agencies, the basic problem is the now common understanding that it is just a matter of time, perhaps less than ten years (sooner than when our newest buses will be retired), before the general public recognizes that autonomously driven buses would be safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, car passengers, and all other users of the roadway.

The old saw equating some total personal disaster with being “hit by a bus” is quite apt. Empty, transit buses weigh between 10 and 16 tons, and when fully loaded can weigh 22 tons. That is good for the passengers on the bus, they are well protected in the event of collision. Enabling these heavy vehicles to stop in an emergency is a difficult engineering task. But even slow speed collisions hit others with life-threating force. Driver reactions must be lightning quick because these huge vehicles are traversing busy streets, surrounded by ever-more distracted pedestrians and other drivers.

Largely because of the extended hours at which a human being is necessarily forced to be on high alert, driving an AC bus is an arduous job. For this reason alone, transit buses are ideal candidates for autonomous driving technology. In addition, the computer would learn the particular route, not just from its own “experience”, but that downloaded from all of the other buses that have ever served that route. Gradually, drivers will be able to direct more and more attention to their passengers.

Today, the little calf is ignored because transit agency boards fear their unions much more than they do the public. But the calf will grow with the public’s confidence in autonomous driving. Eventually, but certainly, AC will have to answer, perhaps in a court room, for why it persists in endangering fellow road users. Formulating a probable time line and transition plan to this future must begin now. My goal is to have that time line and transition plan done over my final four years in office. Each of our buses already utilizes several external cameras, but they are all passive recorders. A new bus costs AC about $750,000. Why cannot AC begin the transition by requiring that its new buses utilize those cameras in the driver assisting mode now done on new cars costing less than $35,000? Our Gillig buses are made right in Hayward. Why can’t AC work with Gillig to do this? These are among the questions with which the AC Board, together with its excellent staff, should begin planning.

 

 

 

 

the leaning tower of millenium

Summary

Summary of the Status of the millenium tower

PISA, ANYONE? No doubt you have probably heard of our 58 story sinking and leaning tower next door. One of the things I want is for the TJPA be absolutely transparent about what it knew, when it knew it, and who it told about the problem. Already it has taken a big step toward that as you might tell from our press releases to date: http://transbaycenter.org/news-information/press-room/press-releases

At the next TJPA board meeting though, I intend to propose that the TJPA take a further step by making available on its website every single document that it delivers or discovers through the litigation or in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. The TJPA is a public agency, so what it knows or discovers, the public should be able to easily discover. The process of discovery, and fights over discovery, is what drags litigation out. I’ m hoping that by making everything known early, the litigation might end sooner. Fortunately for the TJPA, between its contractual indemnification rights and its own liability insurance, whatever happens it is well protected.

It may be though that if most of the liability cannot be pinned on others, some group of investors are looking at hundreds of millions of dollars in financial exposure, with much of that uninsured. For them, if bankruptcy is foreseeable, the litigation costs are minor in comparison to those loses, so ala-Trump they may choose to litigate for a long time before conceding.

How to Really End Bus Bunching

Summary

SOLVING THE PROBLEM OF BUS BUNCHING

 

SOLVING THE PROBLEM OF BUS BUNCHING

Bus bunching is the phenomena of two or more buses on the same route being too close together. My opponent is going around saying that AC Transit need only implement “headway-based scheduling” to eliminate the problem of bus bunching.

In “clock scheduling”, each driver tries to be at given points on the route at specific times, according to the published schedule.  With headway-based scheduling, the published schedules only say that buses will be along every X minutes, so drivers need to know how to maintain that interval. Headway based scheduling makes sense for short circulator routes and frequent express routes such as San Pablo Avenue’s 72R and International Boulevard’s upcoming Bus Rapid Transit line. However, it is no solution to the problem of bus bunching because it requires special route infrastructure to implement properly, and even perfect implementation actually worsens average passenger travel times.

Bunching occurs on high frequency lines when Bus A initially gets behind its fixed schedule due to some unusual circumstance such as loading and unloading several wheelchair passengers, or encountering a traffic accident. Short initial delays can grow quickly over the rest of the route because the “dwell time” at each stop gets ever larger with increased passenger boarding and discharging. As a result, Bus B eventually catches up to Bus A; and for the 51A, even Bus C might eventually catch up. That is why bunching usually occurs toward to end of a line.

My opponent’s solution is to program a computer to anticipate the bunching and somehow make Bus B slow down by waiting at the stops. How much to make it slow down, and when to have others begin slowing down, requires that the computer not only know the exact location of each bus, but have the ability to communicate increasingly frequent slow down commands to following drivers. Right now, AC Transit’s NextBus real time arrival predictions are not reliable enough for the former, and have no means of doing the latter. But even if those capabilities did exist, it would only be to the detriment of Bus B’s passengers.

After Bus A slows to a point where the computer begins telling B’s driver to slow down, B’s riders then get to sit at stops for no apparent reason, suffering longer trip times. And those waiting at stops immediately ahead of B get to wait that much longer. Tragically, all of that waiting does nothing to relieve the riders already suffering on Bus A. With bunching, at least those B riders who boarded early and get off before B meets A, have normal trip times.

 In actuality, the only reason to prevent bunching by slowing B early is political. For observers on the street it may be less embarrassing to AC, but it comes at the cost of less efficient bus service for its riders.

The real solution is one I conceived and call “bump and run” in which Bus B’s driver, upon catching up to Bus A, passes A and begins boarding passengers from the upcoming stops; giving those passengers an earlier bus because, unlike A, B is not over-loaded with passengers needing to be discharged. Similarly, Bus A’s passengers, waiting for discharge, get a faster ride because the upcoming stops are free of boarders.

 

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Russ Tilleman

Green Transportation Designer
44,648 votes (40.83%)
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Events

Videos

This forum, held Monday evening, September 19, 2016 in Hearing Room 1 at Oakland's City Hall was sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Oakland.  It was the third of three events that evening. To watch the video of this forum, go to 1 hour, 17 minutes into the vidoe.  The public was invited to attend and submit written quesstions for each candidate to answer. Bonnie Hamlin, member of League of Women Voters of Oakland moderated.

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